The Road to 60mpg – VW Golf TDI

I am so excited about the maintenance I did on my car last week.  I’ve been looking forward to doing it after Jess and I moved into our Tiny House, but an errant vibration coming from the front left side of the car meant that I needed to move that maintenance up in the time frame.  Here’s what I did.

  1. Oil Change (Including oil filter)
  2. Air Filter
  3. Cabin Filter (which has a special carbon lined filter, just like Shreddies! – to block out the farts of the highway)
  4. Fuel Filter (I change this at every oil change)
  5. Oil Cooler O-Rings – top and bottom
  6. Thermostat (old one was reading 76 C max, when it should have gotten up to 90 C)
  7. Front brake rotors and pads (replaced rears 2 months ago)
  8. Yokohama YK580 tires

All this nonsense didn’t fix the vibration, but I took it to the best diesel mechanic in town, and they found that the front left wheel bearing was going bad.  Replaced that puppy, and boom!  No more vibration!

All of teh MPG are teh MINE

I apparently needed new tires pretty badly.  I thought the suspension was going out, because over every pothole and speed bump, the car clanked like crazy.  Well, after getting the tires replaced, it turns out that was the fault of the tires – not the suspension.  So the suspension will be good to go for at least another 50k miles.

With the thermostat only allowing the coolant to get up to 76 C, rather than the 90 C it should operate at – that was holding my MPG back.  I’m expecting to get 3-5 mpg better, now that I have a perfectly working thermostat.  (Good god, it sprayed coolant EVERYWHERE when I took that thing out!)

With new brakes all around, the car feels incredibly different when I use the brakes.  Before the swap, there were clunks, groans, and squeals every time I applied the brakes.  I’m assuming this new setup will result in less drag while driving, which will net at least a 1 mpg gain.

When I did the rear brakes about 2 months ago, I also ran two full cans of Diesel Purge through my car.  That, plus a new style of driving – hypermiling – took me from an average of 35 MPG, to an average of 47 MPG.  My fuel injector nozzles must have been loaded with crap, because HOLY CANNOLI.  12 MPG increase from a simple Diesel Purge.

Now that I’ve done all this additional maintenance, I’m expecting to break 50 MPG on my next tank.  I know I can do it, I’m just super excited to see it happen!

What about the 60 MPG?

I don’t yet know just how much better my fuel efficiency will be after this maintenance – since I just filled up last night – but if I don’t hit 60 MPG with this, my future work planned for the car will certainly get me there.  It is as follows:

  1. Malone Stage 2 Tune
  2. LuK 17-050 Clutch Upgrade (Already purchased)
  3. Bosio DLC 1019 Fuel Injector Nozzles
  4. *Possibly* Fifth Gear Swap

I won’t know if I need the fifth gear swap until we’ve been living in the Tiny House for a while, and I know better how much highway driving we’ll be doing.  If it turns out to be a lot of highway driving, I’ll definitely do the swap!

My mechanic mentioned that a Stage 2 Tune from Malone (with the upgraded clutch and injector nozzles) would result in much better MPG – possibly 5 MPG better, as long as I didn’t drive it like a GTI.  I’m a hypermiler for life, so I would welcome the increased efficiency of the tune, while still driving like a grandpa.

The total cost of the clutch, tune, and injectors is about $800, and you might be thinking, Why the fuck would you spend $800 to get 5 MPG better?  The truthful answer is, if I can afford it, I’m gonna do it.  It’s fun for me to enhance the efficiency of my car, and I don’t expect to make that $800 back in fuel savings any time soon after the work is done.  However, I enjoy getting high MPG, and if my business is doing well enough to put $800 into my car for fun, it’s gonna happen.

Ultimate Goal – Free Fuel

Once all that stuff is done, I’ll be converting the Golf into a GreaseCar.  This will allow it to run on WVO (waste vegetable oil), which I will get for free from local restaurants.  The only thing you have to do is wait for the engine to heat the coolant up to 90 C, and then you can flip the switch to switch over to WVO (instead of diesel).

Once the car is converted, our only cost will be maintenance.  Since this car is the most reliable car in the world, the maintenance will be quite cheap.

Of course, the real ultimate goal is to move somewhere, where we don’t even need a car.  However, I’d definitely like to keep the little BLT around, in case we ever need a car again.  I mean, come on.  This is the best car that exists.  🙂

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